KrASIA Weekly: AI, Blockchain, and IoT could be the future

Chinese tech companies are finding new avenues to continue to expand.

Photo credit: KrAsia

Hi there, it’s Robin.

In the past decade, we saw the prolific growth of tech companies in mobile, social media, and e-commerce sectors– the core drivers of the internet economy.

However, it seems that a pivot is happening as internet penetration in some countries appears to be slowing down. Chinese tech firms have responded by jumping on another new wave, in addition to their international expansion plans.

Artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and the internet of things (IoT) seem to be the new trend for them.

For example, China is increasingly seeing growing investments in AI. Many new startups are exploring ways in which the technology can improve efficiency and business profits. And the race is definitely on to catch up with the US – the leader in the AI field.

The IoT space is also growing. Xiaomi, Viomi Technologies, and Ambi Labs are just some examples. Smart devices ranging from wearables to traditional kitchen items have become more popular these days.

As for blockchain, China’s recent expansion of its ban on crypto events beyond its capital city is itself a sign of how widely popular blockchain-based virtual currencies are these days. Ono, China’s blockchain-based social network, VV Go platform (blockchain-based ride-hailing alternative), and imToken (China’s ethereum wallet) are just some cases in point.  

In terms of the push to go abroad, the scale and intensity have been ramping up over the past week.

Xiaomi, for instance, is moving beyond just selling affordable smartphones in India. Xiaomi is now only one step away from launching Mi Pay in India. This is in addition to its bold plan to invest in an Indian train schedule app alongside Google.

Another key area of focus for these Chinese tech mammoths would be Southeast Asia. The low internet penetration rates, huge population size, and the many similarities with the old China could be some of the reasons why.

Furthermore, Southeast Asia’s huge opportunities are attracting more attention, not just from the Chinese investors, and the competition is only going to get more intense. Indonesia, the largest country in the region, for instance, is already in the midst of an e-commerce boom.

More importantly, there are also local rivals to fight against. This week, for example, we saw the Southeast Asian on-demand giant, Grab, pledging another $250m for Indonesia via its venture arm. Grab also boldly claimed that it has a strong lead in Indonesia, effectively sending a strong message to its close rival Go-Jek.

Read on to find out more interesting stories from last week, and feel free to tip us if you have news clue or you just want to talk with us, email us at [email protected] and we are looking forward to hearing from you.

Here are some stories you shouldn’t miss.

 

China

Chinese home improvement platform Tubatu heads for $200 HK IPO

Days after launch, a messenger app to rival WeChat raises $22m

Meituan tests investor interest ahead of September IPO, aims for $4b

Xiaomi leads $13m funding round in Indian installment-payment firm ZestMoney

China’s P2P lending platform X Financial files for NYSE IPO

Xiaomi to foray into India’s mobile payments space

Didi completely halts carpooling after 2nd murder in three months

Pinduoduo grows revenue by 2489% for Q2 2018

 

Rest of Asia

Tokopedia got scammed, Asian games crowns first e-sports champion, and more funding

Asian shopping platform to bring together Shopee, Lazada, Taobao, and Qoo10

A snapshot of online shoppers in Thailand

Go-Jek seeks permit to operate in the Philippines report

Grab likely to get an additional $1b this year says company president Ming Maa

Interesting Stories

McKinsey: Indonesian e-commerce bodes well for job creation and equality

Everything you need to know about Pinduoduo users

Dappathon continues APAC Tour with next stop: Hanoi, Vietnam

How JD is making its mark in Southeast Asia